Oakland County residents alerted about potential tax scam

By: Mark Vest | C&G Newspapers | Published August 20, 2023

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OAKLAND COUNTY — Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Lisa Brown is alerting people about misleading mailings received by residents under the guise of representing Oakland County and tax collection offices, according to a press release.

The release states that, over the past several weeks, numerous residents contacted the Oakland County Register of Deeds Office after receiving a postcard in the mail with the headings, “County Deed Records” and “Home Warranty Division.” The number of residents who contacted the office because of the mailers was not available at press time.

The postcard threatens a “lapse in coverage” and contains language clearly designed to agitate recipients, the release states.

Using words such as “Property Lienholder,” “Final Notice” and “Registration is Required,” the card urges recipients to call a given 800  number.

“The notice is a sales marketing ploy for home warranty policies priced at thousands of dollars annually,” the release states.

A separate mailing with the heading “Third Notice” references a state tax lien and offers a “target settlement amount.”

Like the first example, according to the release, the mailers contain urgent threats of “property loss, a bank levy, wage garnishment or all of the above” and urge recipients to call a 1-800 telephone number to “help us to help you satisfy this debt.”

The release states that the mailings are not authorized by any department of Oakland County government, and under no circumstances should residents send money.

  “Unfortunately, scammers and fraudsters are getting more and more savvy in the ways they attempt to bait and mislead homeowners. I urge people to be wary of unsolicited demands for money,” Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds Lisa Brown stated in the release. “If you receive these or similar suspicious communications in your mailbox, please know that it is not from my office and has no bearing on the status of your property. The best course of action is to dispose of these the same way you would any other piece of junk mail.”

A third example of misleading mail received by some business owners carries the heading “Notice of Tax Lien” and references tax liens on property that has in some cases already been paid off, according to the release.

The mailers share the common denominator of employing urgent and threatening language, raising the specters of “imprisonment” and “wage garnishment, seizure of property or assets.”

“Again, these mailings are not official communications and under no circumstances should residents send money,” the release states.

When in doubt, residents are urged to call the Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds office at (248) 858-0561, or send an email to deeds@oakgov.com.